I. The Financial Aid Offer
To receive financial aid, you must be pursuing an eligible degree or certificate program. Federal financial aid may only be received from one institution for the same period of enrollment. The amount of aid that a student receives cannot exceed the Cost of Attendance for the student's academic program.
To be eligible, you must begin and end all coursework within the Semester Block you choose for your academic program. No coursework for your next semester block can begin until after the end date of your current semester block. Note that each semester block has Priority Filing Dates to secure your spot in the class and ensure receipt of Book Advances.
Important: Financial aid offers are projected based on the cost of attendance and expected family contribution (EFC) of a student enrolled in 16-weeks of instruction per term – the standard length of a Rio Salado College semester block.
If a student's enrollment span is less than 14 weeks of the 16-week period of instruction of a semester block, their cost of attendance will be prorated accordingly. This proration may cause a reduction in the amount of financial aid the student is eligible to receive. Adjustments are made at the time of disbursement.
If you enroll in Spring courses for a block number which starts later than your scheduled Fall semester block number your FA will be impacted.
If a student is enrolled solely in correspondence courses, their cost of attendance will be adjusted to include only tuition, books, and fees. Adjustments are made at the time of disbursement.
After the 7 day drop/add period of each student's coursework within a semester block, the course enrollment of each financial aid recipient will be reviewed to determine whether an adjustment is required.
II. Correspondence Courses
A correspondence course is a home study course for students who are not physically attending classes, but not taking the class online. Many times materials are mailed to the student for completion and the student must mail the materials back to the instructor for grading (34 CFR 600.2 and 34 CFR 602.3).
Students taking 100%* correspondence courses cannot be considered more than a half time student for purposes of Federal Financial Aid. In addition, a student's cost of attendance will be adjusted to include only tuition, books and fees which may result in a reduction in the amount of financial aid a student may be eligible to receive. Adjustments are made at the time of disbursement.
Students can only receive Federal Financial Aid funds if their correspondence courses are required for a program that leads to an associate's, bachelor's, or graduate degree. Students enrolled in a certificate program are not eligible to receive Federal Financial Aid funds for correspondence courses.
*Please note that students who are enrolled in a combination of correspondence courses and regular/online courses will have their enrollment level and cost of attendance for the semester treated differently. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for more details.
III. Deferred Tuition Payment
The tuition payment deadline is the Wednesday two weeks prior to your Semester Block Start Date. You will be dropped from your classes if you have not secured an anticipated financial aid award or have not enrolled in the college's tuition payment plan.
If you decide to enroll in a Semester Block Start Date but miss the financial aid Priority Filing Date, you are responsible for making payment arrangements with the college. For your convenience, Rio Salado College offers a tuition payment plan.
Note for students selected for Federal Verification: Incomplete or insufficient submissions that are not resolved may cause processing delays. You will be notified of any additional requirements in your Student Center. Check your Student Center at my.maricopa.edu for updates.
IV. Book Advances
Students in good academic standing who have pending aid and/or scholarships sufficient to cover tuition and fees may be eligible for a Book Advance. Students are not considered in good academic standing if they are on suspension for not meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy. Students who qualify to receive a Book Advance have the right to opt out. In that case, funds designated as Book Advance monies will be included with the student's financial aid refund. More information about Book Advances.
V. Disbursement of Aid
A financial aid award must be processed before a student can receive their disbursement. Typically, this process can take between 4 to 8 weeks to complete, but may take longer. Note that enrolling in classes with different starting dates may delay the distribution of financial aid monies. Also note that disbursement amounts will be prorated if the student's coursework is substantially less than the 16-week semester block.
If there is a change to the assigned block session between fall and spring semester this will result in loans being processed or updated to reflect one semester loans for each fall and spring semester. This means, each loan is subject to two separate disbursements and the second disbursement is based on the mid-point of the semester Block Session.
Financial aid disbursements are processed by Rio Salado's Student Business Services Office, and are made after the student's class participation has been verified. This typically happens during the second week of classes.
For continuing students to be eligible to receive disbursement, all grades from prior terms must be posted. Students must also demonstrate that you are meeting the college's Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy.
Financial aid funds are first be applied to the student's outstanding college charges. Any remaining funds are processed through the Maricopa Student Refund Program. It typically takes an additional 3 – 10 business days to receive your refund, depending on the refund method you have selected.
To avoid unnecessary wait times, please monitor your account information in Your Student Center at my.maricopa.edu and your student Gmail account.
Pell Grants disbursements are delivered based on a student's level of enrollment.
- Full Time: Student enrolls and participates in 12 credit hours or more per semester.
- Three-Quarter (¾) Time: Student enrolls and participates in 9, 10, or 11 credit hours per semester.
- Half Time (½) Time: Student enrolls and participates in 6, 7 or 8 credit hours per semester.
- Less Than Half Time: Student enrolls and participates in less than 5 credit hours per semester. NOTE: Based on federal regulation, living expenses cannot be included in the Cost of Attendance for Less Than Half Time students.
- Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification Students: If you have completed a bachelor's degree and are not working toward a Master's or Ph.D., you may be eligible for Federal Pell Grant funding under the Higher Education Amendments of 1998. To receive your disbursement, you MUST be pursuing an INITIAL Teacher Certification, and be enrolled and participating in AT LEAST 6 credits or more (at Least ½ Time Status) of approved coursework per term. Approved courses are also listed on the Rio Salado Online Post Baccalaureate Teacher Education Program Plan.
Pell Recalculation Policy
Rio Salado College operates on semester blocks offered with modules. The FA office disburses Pell Grant funds on an incremental basis based on the student’s enrollment status throughout a term. The final recalculation is based on enrollment status at the close of the drop/add period for the latest starting class that a student is enrolled or expected to enroll. If all classes begin on the same date, the calculation is based on the drop/add period for the course with the longest weeks of instruction.
If a course is assigned a “W” withdrawn prior to or on the close of the drop/add period of a student’s latest starting class, the course will be treated as if the student were not enrolled in the course.
Students must be enrolled at least half time (6-8 credit hours) at the start of their semester block to be eligible for an award of Campus-Based Aid (SEOG, LEAP and Maricopa Grant with the exclusion of Federal Work Study). The award will be canceled if enrolled less than half time.
Federal Student Loans
Students must be enrolled in and participating in at least 6 credit hours per semester to be eligible for a student loan. Loans have multiple disbursements based on the student's enrollment period. There is a 30-day delayed disbursement for first-time loan borrowers from the date your classes begin. Loans must be repaid with interest.
Students must complete Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) prior to receiving their first student loan disbursement, and Exit Counseling before leaving school or if their level of enrollment falls below 6 credit hours in a semester.
If you receive Federal aid and do not attend classes, federal law requires you to repay the monies you have received.
VI. Changes to Be Reported
Certain changes can affect your financial aid award and potentially create debt. These changes include adding, dropping or withdrawing from class(es) and changes in residency for tuition purposes. You are responsible to report assistance received from any other sources, including outside donor scholarships, tribal monies paid directly to you or on your behalf, and any other aid.
VII. Satisfactory Academic Progress
All students are expected to understand their responsibilities in regard to the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Failure to maintain academic standards may result in withholding or canceling part or all of your financial aid award.
- Financial aid suspension is the status assigned upon failing to meet the minimum SAP standards. Students in financial aid suspension are not eligible to receive Title IV, HEA assistance (Federal Financial Assistance). This includes grants and federal student loans.
- Suspension can result for any of the following reasons: failure to satisfactorily complete 2/3 (66.67%) of cumulative credits attempted, failure to meet cumulative GPA minimum, or for exceeding the maximum timeframe.
- Upon suspension due to SAP, eligible students may appeal the suspension due to extenuating circumstances. Financial aid will only be reinstated on a probationary status in the event of an appeal being approved. Filing an appeal does not guarantee that a student will be able to receive financial aid in the future.
- The reason for suspension determines what appeal form is needed. Keep in mind that all information contained in a financial aid appeal will be reviewed by a committee and a determination of eligibility will be based on the facts and supporting documentation in the appeal. Appeals can be approved or denied. All information provided in the appeal process is confidential. All decisions are final.
- If you were approved for a Maximum Time Frame appeal in a prior semester and are not changing your program of study, you do not need to submit a new Maximum Timeframe appeal. If you are adding additional, substituted or repeated classes, you must submit an Addendum to Maximum Timeframe Appeal. Addendums are reviewed by the appeal committee and can be approved or denied.
- For all appeals, you must explain in detail the extenuating circumstances surrounding your need to appeal, or in the case of an Addendum to the Maximum Timeframe, your need to repeat the class(es) and attach documentation to support your appeal(i.e. medical claims/statement, police report, etc.).
VIII. Return of Title IV
In accordance with federal regulation (34CFR 668.22) a student may become subject to repaying federal financial aid funds received if the following (but not limited to) become applicable:
- If a recipient of federal funds ceases to be enrolled (100%) prior to the end of the payment period.
- If a recipient of federal funds is enrolled in multiple courses with different end dates and is withdrawn or stops attending the course with the latest end date
The Return of Title IV funds is based on the student’s last date of attendance and total days of attendance versus the days the student is required to attend in each course. A student must attend 60% or more of the period of enrollment to earn 100% of the financial aid funds they have received.
Note: 34 CFR 685.309 (b) and 34 CFR 682.610 (c)
“If a school determines that a student has withdrawn, the student is no longer considered to be enrolled and in attendance. Therefore, the student is no longer eligible for an in-school status or in-school deferment, and the school must report the student as withdrawn in NSLDS Enrollment Reporting”.
Any refunds and deposits are applied to institutional debts and/or federal programs as regulated by law. For additional information please read the: Return of Title IV Funds Policy.
IX. Revision and Cancelation of Aid
Revisions may be made to your award as a result of changes in your eligibility, academic status, or your failure to comply with federal/state laws and college policies. The college reserves the right to review, revise, or terminate your financial aid award at any time.
X. Repeated Coursework
Federal Regulations specify that students may receive federal financial aid funding for one repetition of a previously passed course. A passed course is defined as one in which a grade of A, B, C, D, or P is received. If you enroll in a course in which you have previously received passing grades twice, the course will not be counted towards your enrollment level for financial aid purposes. You may repeat a failed course until it is passed. Your enrollment for financial aid purposes will be calculated accordingly.
All recipients are responsible for complying with all federal, state, and institutional requirements necessary to process and receive financial aid.